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SYLVAIN DISTIN has warned Everton FC not to be impatient in chasing victory against Newcastle on Monday - or they could suffer another set-back.
The veteran defender believes that over-eagerness to win emphatically was the reason the Blues tasted their first defeat of the season against West Brom last time out.
David Moyes' men were still in the game after half time at the Hawthorns, but were hit on the break by Shane Long's goal, and then compounded that blow with poor marking from a set-piece which sent them home empty-handed.
Distin believes the disappointment of losing against the Baggies could have been useful if it serves to keep feet on the ground at Goodison, amid the optimism generated by an otherwise impressive start to the season.
He said: "At half time against West Brom it was 0-0 and we wanted to win the game. Maybe we wanted to win too much, we were too impatient and in the end we paid for that mistake.
"Maybe that will have calmed everybody down - the players, the fans, everybody - and make us all a bit more realistic.
"We know we're not going to win every single game but after those first two games against United and Villa, that's what the feeling was."
Distin was keen to help atone for that defeat straight away, but admits the forced break during the international fixtures could have done Everton a favour in the end.
"Straight after the West Brom game I felt like I wanted to play again. I wanted the Newcastle game to be the next day," he said as he prepares to face his former club on Monday.
"It really felt like a bad day at the office but at the same time maybe the break will have done everyone some good."
MAYBE it's for the best that Alan Pardew's touchline ban for shoving an assistant referee means less potential for crossed words with David Moyes on Monday night.
In the snarling cauldron of Goodison Park under the lights, the pair sharing a dug-out would perhaps always be ill-advised these days.
The Newcastle boss was more gracious after his side's 3-1 defeat at the Old Lady in May, but only because beforehand he had irked Moyes and set himself up for a fall with the assertion that Newcastle were "in a different league" from Everton.
For now he's right. The Magpies are in the Europa League and Everton are not, but the errant flippancy of that - hopefully regretted - verdict was underlined by Phil Jagielka this week.
The England defender pointed out that Pardew's side had over-achieved last term, a tag so often forced onto Everton when they have qualified for Europe in the past - most notably for two consecutive seasons under Moyes
Pardew might have shown the same scant respect for the Blues before last season's final game as he did to the FA's respect initiative before shoving a linesman this term, but as Jagielka pointed out he should show more respect for the notion of consistency.
Whatever happens this season, the task of finishing in a European place is before the former Reading boss once again, just as it is the Toffees manager, and many back the latter to do it this time around.
Even cult Toon Army hero Nobby Solano believes that his old club are in for one of their "toughest tests" of the season on Monday night.
The Peruvian reckons the Blues are rightly considered top-five hopefuls, and predicts a tough contest for the Geordie giants.
Solano is currently the boss of Universitario in his native Lima, but he will still be keeping a keen eye on events at Goodison.
"This is a tough game for Newcastle against Everton," he said. "There are a couple of injuries to worry about as well, especially if Fabricio Coloccini is going to be injured or Tim Krul.
"But if Newcastle show the fighting spirit they did last season they can get something.
"I think that Everton will be one of the main contenders to fight for a top-six place this season.
"So this is going to be a game everybody will be keen to see, and I'll be watching from Peru as well."
Perhaps Solano should be asked for insight by Pardew. Because he is fully aware of how difficult it is for one of the less monied Premier League clubs to truly join a different league - or rather break up the top four cabal.
"The next step is logically to move into the top four (for Newcastle)," he said. "I think this is going to be very hard for any team with Man United, Man City, Arsenal and Spurs, plus Chelsea and Liverpool.
"But I said last year that if Newcastle show the momentum they can get there.
"The key is the home games first and foremost and then making sure the rotation for the Europa League is balanced correctly."
There should at least be some bonhomie between the sides on Monday, when Toon new boy Vernun Anita is reunited with former Ajax team-mates John Heitinga and Steven Pienaar.
And he says his new club will be wary of Goodison on a Monday evening after watching Everton defeat Manchester United at the beginning of the season.
"I saw the highlights and they were very aggressive," said the Holland international. "They played very well so we must be prepared.
"I know two players that play there. I played with Steven Pienaar at Ajax - he was there when I made my debut - and Johnny Heitinga, also from Ajax and the national team. They are very good players so I know they have a good team and a very strong team.
"It's a good opponent to play against and we're playing away so we must be prepared."
Both sides have injury concerns ahead of Monday's resumption of Premier League action.
The Blues are sweating over the fitness of influential midfielder Darron Gibson, who hobbled off with a thigh problem during their defeat by West Brom at the Hawthorns last time out.
But Pardew has concerns over his own key midfield asset - Cheick Tiote - with the Ivory Coast native missing since the first game against Tottenham Hotspur when he suffered a hamstring injury.
He played no part in the Ivory Coast's 4-2 win against Senegal last weekend and United continue to access him day-by-day.
Goalkeeper Tim Krul and defender Danny Simpson will also miss the clash.
And maybe the stresses of competing on four fronts has imbued some over-due modesty on Pardew after all.
"We've lost three of our back five who started the season, because Danny Simpson is injured too, so that's a significant blow for us," he said.
"We are not a Chelsea or a Manchester United who can bring in international players to replace them.
"Having said that, I think our replacements are strong and we are not that much down having to go there with those guys."